Bible Studies for Life
April 20, 2014
1 Corinthians 15:20-28
The church in Corinth, a church Paul founded, was a source of ongoing problems for him. They faced issues about human pride, immorality, false teaching and abuse of worship. Paul sought to correct these matters when he wrote to the church. In today’s text, located in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul corrects those who believed that Jesus did not rise from the dead. The matter is clear for Paul. If Christ was not raised, we have no hope. But because Christ was raised, hope is our guaranteed inheritance.
You have heard that there are two certain things in life: death and taxes. Of the two, only death has an eternal impact. Death is a reality that points to other realities. First, it says that we are sinners: “Death came through a man. … In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:21-22). But secondly, just as death could not keep Jesus down, death cannot destroy us: “In Christ all will be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
Paul now comes to the matter of Christ’s reign. The Resurrection is sure. Our victory in Christ is secure. But Paul’s logical approach continues. That which God began in creation and redeemed through the incarnation is finally and forever fulfilled in the consummation of the ages: “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father” (1 Cor. 15:24). Everything is placed under His feet – including death (1 Cor. 15:26-27).
Later in the chapter – in verse 55 – Paul asks two questions: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
We know the answer to both.
The sting of death is in each tear that rolls down our cheeks and the void felt in our hearts. Death does have a sting.
But, in truth, death does not have a victory. Instead, death is the victim, and life is the victor. On Easter morning, we declare the heart of our faith. Life is stronger than death. Jesus Christ reigns. He is our hope, the hope of glory.